Published on: Sunday 28th June 1998 By: Josh Sahrmann
If people had thought about databases 100 years ago what would have happened? The answer would have been a better file management system. If you looked at a database from the side you would see the database as a 4th dimensional object. Each database you design is composed of information. For example your favorite wine list could be inputted into a small database. When you start designing your database you learn a lot of things such as how to manage your work, how hard it was when you didn't have a database and why you need one. All the information you store can be retrieved at any point in time.
In this very first article about databases I'm going to talk about what software people use and how to connect the database to your web site. If everything goes right I'll have real examples of working databases. So lets get started....
As you get ready to develop the database you want to think about first what data you're putting in. Second is this database going to become really large. The reason for asking these questions is at some point your database is going to get so large that it may be easier to use software such as Oracle. But for now most people get started using Access or FileMaker Pro. Now I'm a big fan of Apple so I use FileMaker Pro. This doesn't mean you have to use FileMaker Pro but they do have it available for Windows. If you have Access then great.
Locate Access or FileMaker Pro and go ahead and open it. Once your application is open a window should appear asking what type of database you would like to build. Take a step back and think about what type your going to make. Is it going to be a billing database or a project database. Once you have made up your mind click on the item in which you would like to create (I.E., Billing, Project, Wine List). For now lets choose Expenses System.
Depending on which software you opened (Access or FileMaker Pro) a different window will appear. In Access you will be asked what type of interface you would like. Along with other customizing items. Once you are in front of a window showing Project, Purpose of Trip, Rate/Mile and so on your in the right place.
In FileMaker Pro you interface is created for you. This has it's down sides but it allows you to get right to work. At any time you can move items around or add new items. This will be talked about in the next article.
What you're looking at is the interface of your database. You need to start adding data. So find the icon labeled New Record. Click on New Record once. The screen won't change but now you are ready to type information.
Lets start out by typing in your project. Lets name the project "New York and back." Then in the Purpose of Trip type in "To see L.A.." Type your rate for our example .55. If this database is for your company then you should put in your Employee ID.
Once you have filled out most of the form, showing all miles and totals then its time to add one more record. To do this your find the New Record icon again and click once.
When the information goes black and your interface is the same you have made a new record. If you haven't saved yet do so now. Fill information but make sure you change some things.
If you or your company had 4 to 100 or more expenses then you would want to search through the database. To do that click on the Find Record or Find icon and type in the information you need to find. In FileMaker Pro your type in the information in the interface and then click on continue button. The search command is a nice feature which I use all the time.
The next step is to program your database into your web site. In Access goto the File Menu and click Save As HTML. Go through the wizards till it asks which file you would like to install it to. Pick the file and let your work become alive:
|Expense Categories||Table||20/06/98 19:20:14|
|Expense Details||Table||20/06/98 19:20:15|
|Expense Reports||Table||20/06/98 19:20:15|
|Switchboard Items||Table||20/06/98 19:20:16|
This article is a starting point for beginning users. Currently I'm developing a large internal network based all on databases and dynamic applications. The development diary will be available shortly after this article is published. For the advanced users who have already created databases in Oracle I will have an article on development soon.